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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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20 Jul 2016 Classic Conundrum: Protecting Employees from Themselves

Last week, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against a furniture company in North Carolina for firing a pregnant employee, allegedly because her job involved using potentially dangerous chemicals.   According to the EEOC’s regional attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina, “pregnant women have the right to make their own decisions about working while pregnant, including the risks they are willing to assume. Companies must not impose paternalistic notions on pregnant women, as doing so can result in unlawful discrimination.”   In the case filed against RTG…

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11 Jul 2016 More Flu Vaccine News – EEOC Alleges Hospital’s Mandatory Flu Vaccine Policy Violates Title VII

  As summer temperatures soar, one might think the last thing to worry about is the upcoming flu season. And while that may be true in most respects, the flu is on the minds of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). A lawsuit filed by the EEOC sheds light on the issue for healthcare employers who impose mandatory flu vaccine requirements on employees as a condition of continued employment.   The EEOC alleges in EEOC v. Mission Hospital, Inc. – a lawsuit that includes class…

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24 Jun 2016 EEOC Provides Additional Guidance on Employer Wellness Program Notice

In a recent press release, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has offered supplemental resources to assist employers in complying with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) notice requirements associated with their use of employee wellness programs and collection of employee health information as part of the same. Specifically, the EEOC directs employers to its Sample Notice for Employer-Sponsored Wellness Programs and a Q&A discussion relating to such sample and required notice. These resources address how to comply with the employer’s obligations to inform employees what…

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23 Jun 2016 EEOC Critical of NLRB’s Investigation Confidentiality Concerns

An Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) task force has released a comprehensive report on its 18-month study on the issue of harassment in the workplace. The Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace consisted of a select group of outside experts impaneled to examine harassment in the workplace and was co-chaired by two current EEOC Commissioners, Chai Feldblum and Victoria Lipnic. They recently published the “Report of the Co-Chairs of the EEOC Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace.”…

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08 Jun 2016 What Employers must know about the Americans with Disabilities Act

A few weeks ago, we posted a blog concerning the aggressive, suit-filing tactics by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against employers and the expensive and public consent decrees that follow.   One of the EEOC consent decrees discussed was with Rock Tenn, a paper and packaging manufacturer with a facility located in Battle Creek, Michigan. The consent decree required Rock Tenn to pay $187,000 in settlement of the EEOC lawsuit to provide training to its employees and submit to EEOC oversight of the manufacturer’s…

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26 Apr 2016 Is There a Silver Lining in the EEOC’s Continuing Quest to Make Employees Untouchable?

At this point, it’s all over but the shouting. In January, the EEOC issued its proposed enforcement guidance on retaliation charges filed by employees. The public comment period for the proposed guidance is now closed. (If you haven’t gone through it yet, settle in, make yourself comfortable and read the 73-page proposed guidance found here).   The proposed guidance will likely be adopted soon and it will likely affect almost half of the EEOC charges filed by employees. That’s because a retaliation charge is either the…

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15 Apr 2016 EEOC Consent Decrees Highlight That Employers Must Prevent ADA Claims — Or Pay the Consequences

Public consent decrees that resolved several recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) disability discrimination lawsuits are a stark reminder that clear policies and training can help employers to avoid such consequences.   A common theme of the recently-settled EEOC lawsuits is that once the EEOC files a lawsuit it will demand a public settlement that includes substantial financial terms and non-monetary relief including posting of notices in the workplace and mandatory training.   In a case that the EEOC filed against a paper manufacturing company…

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21 Mar 2016 2015: EEOC Charges Rebound

  The EEOC charge filing statistics for 2015 are out. Last year at this time, we were looking at the trend of charges continuing to drop from their peak in 2010 and were hoping the trend would continue. Unfortunately, the drop in the overall number of charges stopped and troublingly is going back up:     As you can see, the chart tracks the number of filed EEOC charges going back to the late 1990s. For the most part, the number of charges ebbs and…

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09 Mar 2016 EEOC Continues Visible Stance on Sexual Orientation Discrimination Protection

  As predicted by many, 2016 will likely be a year the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will continue its push for the expansion of the rights afforded pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.   This month, the EEOC filed its first two lawsuits accusing employers of gender bias for discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation. Specifically, both cases allege employee harassment on the basis of sexual orientation, in addition to retaliation. There are many local and…

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04 Mar 2016 Should Charging Parties Read Your Position Statement? EEOC Says Yes.

  The EEOC is implementing nationwide procedures that will disclose employer position statements – submitted in response to charges of discrimination – to charging parties and their attorneys upon request during the course of the EEOC’s investigation of the charge.   If the employer’s position statement is provided to a charging party, there is a 20-day period for the charging party to provide a response to the EEOC, but that response will not be provided to the respondent/employer during the investigation, according to a summary…

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